Once-in-A-Lifetime 3-Day Hiking and Glamping Tour of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve From Isafjordur

Hikers walk along grassy slopes in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords with a snowy mountainous landscape rising in front.
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Description

Details

Tour starts
Aðalstræti 17, Ísafjörður, Iceland
Starting time
at 09:00
Duration
3 days
Ending place
Ísafjörður, Iceland
Languages
English, Icelandic
Difficulty
Moderate
Available
Jun. - Sep.
Minimum age
14 years old

Description

Experience three incredible days of hiking, luxury glamping in the great outdoors, and marveling at the wildlife in Iceland on this memorable Westfjords tour. Intrepid travelers looking for a hiking tour full of beautiful views in one of Iceland's most remote corners should book this small-group tour now. 

Over three days, you’ll hike approximately 21.7 miles (35 kilometers) to complete the Hornstrandir Traverse. This area is renowned for its birdwatching opportunities and excellent chances for spotting arctic foxes in Iceland. 

Each evening you’ll enjoy an outstanding glamping experience by staying in a two-person tent where you’ll get your own sleeping cot. A large tent provides a space to share meals and relax with fellow hikers in a cozy setting.

Hornstrandir lies in the Westfjords, an isolated and distinct part of Iceland. Human inhabitants abandoned it in the 1950s due to the difficulty of surviving through a winter there. In 1975, the area became the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, managed by the Environmental Agency of Iceland. 

Nowadays, you can see arctic foxes and go birdwatching in Iceland on a Hornstrandir tour like this one. Get ready to enjoy the combination of an active adventure and the nature of Iceland on this multi-day tour from Isafjordur.

The only way to experience the pristine wilderness of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is by traveling there by boat. Your three-day tour begins at the Isafjordur harbor and starts with a two to three-hour boat tour across to Hornvik Bay.

Upon reaching Hornvik Bay, you'll grab your day pack and start enjoying some of the most magnificent hiking in Iceland. On today’s walk, you’ll see the Hornbjarg cliffs, Mount Midfell, the Midhdalur valley, and a nearby lake. 

After an incredible first day of hiking, the group will enjoy a delicious dinner at the base camp. You’ll find your personal belongings waiting here and will no doubt feel a sense of gratitude that you didn’t need to carry them around all day! Then it’s time to settle in for a good night’s sleep, so you’re ready for the next day’s adventure.

Day two starts with breakfast before heading out for another active day filled with breathtaking scenery. Today’s hike goes over the Kyrskard Pass to the Latravik lighthouse for lunch. After lunch, the Almenningar pass boasts beautiful views of Hornvik bay before you head down to the coast. 

Your final stop on day two will be at Drifandi waterfall before heading to base camp. Enjoy reflecting on your unforgettable day with fellow hikers before settling in for the night.

On day three, you'll carry all your personal belongings and will hike across the Hafnarskard pass to Veidileysufjordur fjord. You’ll probably see some midsummer snow on today’s walk! From the fjord, the boat will take the group back to Isafjordur, about an hour's trip.

Don’t miss this multi-day Westfjords hiking tour of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, an unforgettable active adventure abundant in Icelandic wildlife. Check availability now by choosing a date. 

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Included

Boat ride to and from Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
All meals
Glamping accommodation at base camp (two-person tent with your own sleeping cots)
Experienced English-speaking hiking guide
Three days of hiking around the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Activities

Hiking
Bird watching

Daily itinerary

Day 1
A beautiful view of Isafjordur with the mountains reflecting onto the deep blue water below, snow in the distance and a cloudy dark blue sky above.

Day 1 - Ferry ride, cliffs, valleys, and bays

The hiking group will meet at the tour operator’s office in Isafjordur half an hour before departure in anticipation of an exciting first day. Here you’ll have a chance to ask questions and make any final preparations before the tour departs

Your tour begins with a two to three-hour ferry ride from Isafjordur harbor to Hornvik bay. Sit back and relax as you marvel at the magnificent coastline with perfectly carved out bays, a taste of the phenomenal scenery you’ll witness over the next three days.

When you arrive in Hornvik bay, it’s time to start hiking! All you need to carry is your day pack. Let someone else take care of the rest of your belongings and transport them to the group’s base camp, where you’ll spend both nights of this tour.

First, you’ll hike up to the Hornbjarg bird cliffs, a stunning area abundant in birdlife and lush green grass. Breathe in the fresh air as you appreciate the magnificent cliffs and marvel at the phenomenal views across the bay.

A grassy slope next to the cliff’s edge takes you to Mount Midfell. As you traverse the steep slope, you’ll feel your heart rate up, blood pumping, and endorphins flowing. The stunning scenery and tranquil surroundings make the physical challenge well worth it.

Then the group will drop down to the Middalur valley for impressive views of the sheer cliff faces. People once rappelled down these cliffs during summer to collect eggs that would help sustain them through the harsh winter months.

Next, you’ll reach a small lake in Middalur, prolific in birdlife. The summer months bring swans to the area, and hundreds of seabirds bathe on the lake daily.

Finally, the hike goes over Muli ridge to the shoreline. Then it’s onward to basecamp for dinner and a comfortable night’s rest. On this first fantastic day, you’ll cover 8.7 miles (14 kilometers), with a 1476-foot (450-meter) elevation gain.

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Day 2
A small, yet beautiful river in the Westfjords with snow speckled on the surrounding mountains in the summertime and the sun casting a gorgeous rainbow in the distance.

Day 2 - Spectacular scenery at the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Your second day starts with a nutritious breakfast, so you’re ready for another adventurous day. Then it’s time to discover more breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife that make the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve unique.

Keep an eye out for arctic foxes while you’re hiking. There are no guarantees you’ll see them, but these curious creatures often appear on this tour. These hardy animals are well-adapted for harsh weather conditions and will eat almost anything, one of the keys to their survival.

First, you’ll head up the Kyrskard pass and then down to the Latravik lighthouse. It’s the perfect place to enjoy lunch while appreciating the rugged scenery.

After lunch, you’ll walk through the Almenningar pass for more impressive cliff-edge vistas. Marvel at the views of Hornvik bay while walking down the Innstidalur valley toward the coast.

Finally, today’s loop walk takes you to the Drifandi waterfall. Your knowledgeable guide will share stories of polar bear encounters in this area. They sometimes swim or drift here from Greenland, struggling for survival with meager hunting opportunities.

Throughout this three-day tour of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, your guide will share insights about this incredible area of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. As you traverse through delicate ecosystems, leave this untouched wilderness as you find it so that flora and fauna may continue to thrive.

By the end of today’s walk, you’ve circled back to basecamp, ready to reflect on your day in the company of like-minded group members. After walking eight miles (13 kilometers) with a 1640-foot (500-meter) elevation gain, you will have worked up an appetite, so you’ll appreciate the gourmet meal ahead of you.

At the end of your evening, settle in for another comfortable night’s sleep, ready for your third and final day of hiking.

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Day 3
A Westfjords river surrounded by a rugged landscape with a glimpse of pink in the cloudy sky above.

Day 3 - Mountain pass and fjord views then back to Isafjordur

The exciting final day of this three-day Westfjords hiking tour begins with a relaxed start. Then it’s time to say goodbye to Hornvik bay and its friendly foxes before putting your pack on, ready to hike. Today is the only day you’ll need to carry all your belongings, so make sure you fuel up with plenty of breakfast!

The hiking starts with a final push through the Hafnarskard pass. The 1706-foot (520-meter) climb is worth it for the sense of satisfaction and superb views you’ll enjoy at the top. Take time to pause and marvel at the vistas looking south and down to Veidileysufjordur fjord, today’s destination.

Even in midsummer, you’re likely to see snow on the pass. The group will take it slow and enjoy the scenery of a landscape less often seen during the warmest months of the year. Have your camera ready to capture unforgettable memories of the area.

Then you’ll meander down the trail to the calm fjord waters, ready to meet the boat. There’s still time to appreciate the awe-inspiring nature and perfect solitude all around you before you leave in the evening.

You’ll likely feel exhilarated from your incredible achievement when you reach the fjord. Today you’ve walked 7.4 miles (12 kilometers) with an elevation gain of 1804 feet (550 meters), and you’ve covered around 21.7 miles (35 kilometers) over the three days.

The boat journey back to Isafjordur takes about one hour. Marvel at the pristine beauty of the fjord as you cruise along the calm waters. When you arrive in Isafjordur, the tour concludes, and you can spend your evening as you wish. Perhaps indulge in a delicious waterfront meal before enjoying a good night’s sleep after your adventurous three days.

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What to bring

Sleeping bag liner and pillow cover
Warm outdoor clothing including hiking pants and warm upper layers (non-cotton)
Waterproof jacket and pants
Waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support (mandatory)
Hat and gloves
Small backpack
Personal medical kit and any required medication
Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife (optional)
Sunglasses and sun cream
Water bottle
Camera
Thin neoprene socks or light water shoes for river crossings
Light towel
Hiking poles, if desired

Good to know

You will need to carry all your belongings on your back during the third day of the hike so try to pack lightly, yet bring everything you need.

The tour operator provides tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, and pillows, which you will not need to carry.

The tour itinerary may change depending on sea conditions, the weather, and the group's ability.

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